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Lemon and Almond Shortbread Bars

These very-rich-but-worth-every-calorie bars are the British version of our lemon bars — on steroids! We love lemon bars, and the slab of buttery, almond-y shortbread that stands in as the base here only serves to elevate said object of devotion to the divine. These bars are not really a handheld treat — we think you’ll be much happier with a plate and fork so as not to lose a crumb, calories be damned!

Lemon and Almond Shortbread Bars

4½ oz. butter, chopped (9 tbs.)
3 oz. golden caster sugar (¼ cup plus 2 tbs.)
6 oz. all-purpose flour (1¼ cups plus 3 tbs.)
2 oz. ground almonds (½ cup plus 2 tbs.)
1 tbs. milk

For the topping:

Zest of 3 lemons, plus juice from 4 lemons (7 fl. oz.)
5 large eggs
9 oz. golden caster sugar (1¼ cups plus 1 tbs.)
1 oz. all-purpose flour (¼ cup)
1 oz. sliced almonds, toasted (generous ¼ cup)
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Heat the oven to 350°F and line an 8”x 8” square tin with baking parchment.

Tip the butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt into a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the flour, ground almonds, and milk. Use a wooden spoon and then your hands to bring the mixture together to form a dough.

Use your fingers to spread the shortbread dough over the bottom of the tin, right into the corners. Bake for 25 minutes until golden.

Meanwhile, prepare the lemon topping. Whisk the lemon juice and eggs together in a jug. In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and zest. Strain the lemon mixture through a sieve onto the sugar mixture and whisk to combine.

When the shortbread base has cooled a bit, press it down hard, especially in the corners. Then pour over the lemon mixture and return the tin to the oven for 15 minutes. Scatter over the almonds and bake for another 8-10 minutes until the topping has set.

Cool completely in the tin, then lift out, dust with confectioner’s sugar, and cut into bars.

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